At last week’s Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (JPNA) monthly meeting Sen. Joseph Boncore briefed residents on some of the legislative accomplishments over the past year that directly benefited the neighborhood.
“It was a good year fiscally for the state and we’ve been able to make record investments in public transportation, education and health care,” said Boncore. “This has trickled down to direct investments in East Boston. I’ve been working closely with Rep. Adrian Madaro to identify the needs in the community and how we can strengthen programs and other initiatives in the neighborhood.”
Boncore said that he was able to secure an earmark in the Senate that was approved by the House for $100,000 that will go towards a feasibility study to connect the Mary Ellen Greenway through Orient Heights and onto the Belle Isle Marsh. The decades-old plan to connect the Greenway with neighborhoods north of Eastie is something Boncore said will be a game changer in the community.
“This is a real good number for a feasibility study,” said Boncore. “The thought of one day being able to ride your bike or walk from the East Boston waterfront to the Belle Isle Marsh and then to Revere is very exciting. It is also very exciting that we will be able to connect these two communities in a very meaningful way through public open space.”
Boncore was able to push through the Senate another earmark for the Crossroads Family Shelter, which provides transitional housing for homeless women and children. The $45,000 earmark for Crossroads Family Shelter will go towards helping Crossroads continue to operate a workforce development and educational program for women.
“Crossroads has been doing great work in the community for decades and we want to help them continue their mission in the neighborhood,” said Boncore.
Boncore said $50,000 will go towards helping Piers Park Sailing Center continue to provide funding for its popular youth programs.
“For years this program gives local children access to the Boston Harbor while learning the valuable skill of sailing,” said Boncore. “Through this earmark they will be able to serve more children during their summer programs as well as people with disabilities through the sailing center’s adaptive sailing program.”
Boncore said $50,000 will be used to help relocate one of the Social Centers daycare sites that was displaced by the rehabilitation of the Orient Heights Housing Development. He said this will ensure that much needed affordable day care slots remain in the neighborhood.
Another $200,000 in the supplemental budget will help the Social Centers strengthen its workforce through Early Childhood Education programs and classes for daycare staff.
Finally Boncore secured $75,000 in funding to run a job readiness program at East Boston High School as well as another $75,000 for a Museum of Science engineering education program at Eastie’s elementary schools.
The job readiness program at the High School is a program that has worked really well putting students on a path to a successful career right out of high school. While the Museum of Science engineering education program is something that is new to the budget. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is training students for the jobs of today and the future. However, studies show that a disportionate amount of women and people of color are not represented in these fields. The funding will allow EBHS to partner with the Museum of Science to begin a pilot program to bring quality STEM education to every elementary school in Eastie.